Here are the stories on Texas Standard for Monday, July 31, 2023:
The Supreme Court struck down President Joe Biden’s plan to eliminate $400 billion in student loan debt for millions of borrowers, but relief is still on the way for Americans with federal student loans. The Biden administration announced earlier this month that more than 800,000 borrowers will have their student loans wiped away (approximately $39 billion in debt.)
Among those borrowers are 64,000 Texans, who will have $3.1 billion forgiven. Texas has the highest number of borrowers benefiting from the debt cancellation of any state, according to the U.S. Department of Education.
So what is this new program, and how can borrowers apply? Betsy Mayotte, president of The Institute of Student Loan Advisors, joins with more.
The Houston Police Department has released a comprehensive report on the 2021 Astroworld tragedy, which occurred during Travis Scott’s headlining performance at NRG Park on Nov. 6, 2021. The report provides a detailed account of the police department’s investigation into the crowd crush and stampede, which resulted in 10 fatalities, including a 10-year-old boy, and left scores injured.
Throughout the document, the police recount witness interviews that vividly describe their harrowing experiences amidst the crowd.
Joining us to shed light on the contents of the report is Céilí Doyle, a reporter from Houston Landing.
House lawmakers are rolling back protections for the lesser prairie chicken
Last week, lawmakers in Washington, D.C., finalized efforts to roll back federal protections for the lesser prairie chicken, an endangered animal whose population has dwindled over the years.
The small bird makes its home across Texas and New Mexico, including parts of the Permian Basin oil fields. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service listed the lesser prairie chicken under the Endangered Species Act just last year.
Marfa Public Radio’s Mitch Borden reports:
As Artificial Intelligence systems continue to advance, experts predict that within the next decade, they will surpass human expertise in various job domains. This impending shift raises important questions for working Texans and those entering the job force.
On today’s Texas Standard, we explore the transformative effects of AI on the workforce of Texas and beyond. How will jobs be affected, and what conversations are crucial to have before this potential transition takes place?
Collin Czarnecki led the research on this study for ChamberofCommerce.org and joins us with more.
Federal officials recently announced $3.3 billion in federal funding for broadband infrastructure in Texas, the largest grant to any state. With an estimated 7 million Texans, particularly in rural areas, lacking broadband access, this funding is critical to bridge the digital divide.
However, there are concerns that Texas may miss out on some of this funding due to federal rules. Small companies seeking to bring broadband to rural Texas are likely to face challenges in accessing these funds, as past issues with misallocation of federal money led to stricter restrictions.
Jayme Lozano Carver, who covers the South Plains and Panhandle region for The Texas Tribune, joins us with her insights.
Set in San Antonio, “Ander & Santi Were Here” is a YA novel about a nonbinary Mexican American teen falling for the shy new waiter at their family’s taqueria, and the societal forces that threaten to tear them apart.
Author Jonny Garza Villa tells us more.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, Texans were allowed continuous Medicaid enrollment. A federal mandate banned states from taking people off Medicaid, regardless of their eligibility status.
But now that the pandemic is no longer a public health emergency, states have started unwinding the number of people enrolled in the federal health program – meaning hundreds of thousands of Texans have already lost their insurance coverage.
KERA’s Gloria Farris reports on what this means to families and what is required to continue enrollment.
Most of the military has restarted a program that allows green card holders to become U.S. citizens faster if they enlist. The program allows new recruits to naturalize at the end of basic training. The change comes at a time when the military is having trouble attracting recruits and retaining those already in uniform.
Carson Frame reports for the American Homefront Project.
All this, plus the Texas Newsroom’s state roundup and Wells Dunbar with the Talk of Texas.